United States continued to provide moral encouragement, financial support, and sometimes even arms and men in the struggles within their former countries. Moreover, migrants have often been able to influence the foreign policies of their adopted states, certainly an important element in the conduct of American foreign policy in the peace conferences which followed World War I.
Migrants not only influence their place of origin through remittances and through letters. They may return home to visit or to remain. Though the number of international migrants permanently returning home is relatively small, it is greater than one might at first imagine. It is estimated that approximately one sixth of all migrants to the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries returned home to Europe, and that for some countries in south and southeastern Europe, such as Bulgaria and Serbia, as many as half of all the migrants who originally went to the United States returned home.
Most census reports underestimate and some do not report return migration at all. If the census enumerator asks "were you born outside the county (or state, or country)," he misses all those who have moved and then returned home. As Zachariah points out in his study of internal migration in India, many workers move from their place of birth when they are young and then return at an older age. The net migration figure may, therefore, substantially underestimate the amount of spatial mobility. Moreover,
. .. the number of contacts and relationships established through rural-urban migration is several times more than the net migration between these areal units. The urban migrant maintains constant contact with the village by a sort of pendulum movement between the village and town where he works and frequently settles down in the village when he retires. (56, p. 106)
There is reason to believe that the social and political significance of return migrations in the developing areas is both underestimated and underem-phasized.
One of the most important social, economic, or political effects of migration may well be the impact made by a migrant returning from an urban area to his home village. What political role does this returning migrant play? With what ideas does he return? What new political and economic skills does he have? What new resources? And what role, if any, does he play in transforming the economic, political, and social life of his community of origin?
How can returning migrants be classified? Has a migrant returned for a visit or is it a permanent return? Has he returned after a short or a long departure? What was his social status in the community before he left, and what is it after he returns? And what occupation or activity does he assume upon his return?ovided money and recruits for the Greek national struggle against the Ottomans in the 1837 war of independence. Similarly, Czech, Slovak, Italian, and Serb migrants to the